When to remove lambs - mum struggling

More
7 years 7 months ago - 7 years 7 months ago #524831 by 16 Paws
Hi. After people's thoughts/opinions, and experience. Our last sheep lambed yesterday and is struggling to feed her babies. She is a first time mum as a two tooth. Went down with sleepy sickness on Sunday, and has been having ketol and glucaphos regularly since. Yesterday, midday, she was finally in labour, but first lamb was a breech, and second head back, - both complicated and tricky (thank goodness for an experienced neighbour!) Third was a normal presentation. Mrs Ewe was obviously exhausted, and has been given antibiotics, more ketol, glucaphos etc. She has done really well caring for the lambs, which are HUGE, but I am concerned she does not have much milk. I'm able to express small amounts, but the lambs are very hungry. Am compliment feeding them with colostrum powder and they are taking amounts that would indicate they are getting minimal otherwise. Mum ate ravenously yesterday, but seems a bit more lethargic again today.
So I am wondering just what to do. Keep the lambs with her, in the hope she starts to produce milk? Bottle feed all three and take the pressure off her? If removing them, when is best? Bit worried that the maternal instinct is one of the things helping her keep going, so removing all would feel cruel. Any thoughts?
Last edit: 7 years 7 months ago by 16 Paws. Reason: Spelling

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #524833 by WillNZ
We have had a few similar cases with mother struggling to cope for one or another reason. We try to feed the lambs next to the mother, initially using a tube so the feed is over with quickly, then later going to bottle if the mother is still not up to it. We then leave the lambs with the mother after feeding. We have a fenced area with shelter where we keep the problem ones. We supplement feed the mother with hay/nuts/electrolyte etc to try to bring her back to health. We have had great success in keeping the lamb/mother relationship intact by doing the feeding with the mother right there. Only in extreme cases do we take the lambs away, mainly if the lambs are struggling and need to be kept warm inside.
The following user(s) said Thank You: 16 Paws

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #524834 by Geba
Mum will make milk as the lambs feed - so long as she's in good health and well fed. It's a lot easier to feed Mum than the lambs (really it is!) and better for them all to stay together if at all possible, SO - if it was me (and I *do* have a ewe & lamb in much the same position myself) I would keep a careful eye on them all, make sure Mum is eating well & dosed up with Ketol etc, and make sure all still look lively and happy. Definitely don't take all the lambs away unless Mum really goes down or the lambs are not gaining weight.

That being said, three lambs are a usually challenge to feed even when Mum is well, so, if you can easily bottle feed the lambs then fall-back options are: give the lambs extra bottle feeds but leave them with Mum (*usually* Mum will still accept the lambs even if they have a mixed diet) or, take one lamb off & bottle feed that away from Mum, and leave Mum with the other two lambs, taking care in both cases to make sure Mum is still feeding well.

However, if you have someone at home who can feed lambs you might want to take a better safe than sorry approach and just take one or two right off Mum and bottle feed them straight away. You'll at least know then that they are all eating as much as they can/need.
The following user(s) said Thank You: 16 Paws

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #524849 by kindajojo
As above, keep the, all together, remember that in the first day, the lambs don't need much colostrum , supply will increase as demand increases...so work on feeding them say half the recommended and mum can top up the rest .....then just keep an eye on them all..and adjust as necessary. Always better to feed mum than try to feed all the lambs ... If you take the lambs away often the ewe seems to just give up....
If you have willow just shooting now , it's a good feed...
The following user(s) said Thank You: 16 Paws

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.117 seconds